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Monday, February 21, 2011

My Maid Didn't Come Today and Jesus Doesn't Care!

My maid didn't come today! Actually, she hasn't shown up the last 18 years of my marriage. I am beginning to think she isn't coming! I keep sweeping, mopping, and washing . When is she going to get here? Might I also add that my chef, nanny, driver, and dog walker have also been MIA! All of those items have fallen onto my family and me as we seek to accomplish our busy schedules.

Sometimes people say to my husband, "Wow! It was like that sermon was just for me!" That is how I feel about Luke 10:38-42

Luke 10:38-42 (New International Version, ©2010)

At the Home of Martha and Mary (provided  by
 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”    41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Do you ever wonder what is the epilogue of that story? Did Martha say, "Oh yes my Lord, let me sit at your feet and learn." Do you think she said, "Well! Tell little Ms. Lazy I wish I had time to sit at your feet, but I am busy taking up the slack!" The Bible doesn't  tell us Martha's reaction which leads me to believe the reaction isn't as significant as the fact that Jesus let us know listening and learning from him is more important than anything.

That word anything can be pretty big. You may be reading this right now and think... "yeah - yeah... don't rush... take time for Jesus... got it... now I gotta get on with my life." Let me tell you what I think anything means. It means ANYTHING. 

Let's try something today. When you read the verse at the bottom of this post and worship God through song, ask God to speak to you. Seek to LISTEN. Not with your mind, but with your heart.

Who do you identify with? I sadly confess I identify with Martha more than I should. How did Mary choose wisely? How did she know to do that? How can we make a point to be like Mary? Martha asked Jesus, "don't you care that my sister left me to do all the work by myself?" Jesus pretty much said, "no I don't." He loved Martha. He loves us, and because he loves us he doesn't care how clean the floor is, if it takes time away from him. He is more concerned with where our heart is than how much we do. Be still today and soak in and listen and discuss with God all he has for you. We all have things to do, and the most important thing is to spend time with God so you will be able to do... well... ANYTHING!

Psalm 46:10 "...Be still and know that I am God..."

posted on you tube. music by Stephen Curtis Chapman - Be Still and Know

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Radio Invite

I hope your week is going great! I just celebrated my 44th birthday. Some are thinking "she is old" - Others "she isn't old enough - and the wise ones are pondering "ah... she is just right"! I don't know what I am, except thankful for the family and time God has given me.

This  Saturday, February 19th @ 9 am (central US time) I am going to be on the LOVE TALK radio ministry. Cindi Vana and Evelyn Davison have invited me to come and share with Cindi as Evelyn will be out of town. I would love for you to pray for the event and listen. I have provided a link to the radio station. Just click on the link below. When you are at the site click "LISTEN LIVE" at the top of the web site.I hope you can come! Have a great week end!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Afters - "Ocean Wide"

Happy Valentine's Day! This is a great song. My husband and I know the lead singer. He would come to our youth group when my husband was a youth pastor. The Afters have a lot of great songs. I like this one because it is about a relationship. You know, I think many times we are stronger for living through the harder times. Through Christ we can "swim" through difficulties and love always makes anytime better! I pray you have no tears today, only smiles ... even when you think of the harder times that have brought you through stronger together by God's mercy and love. 

The Afters have many wonderful songs. They did not make this video. Overall, I thought the young lady did a great job. Enjoy!

1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Poor Job's Wife

"His wife said to him, 'Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "Are you talking like a foolish woman? Shall we accept the good from God and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said." Job 2:9-10

What was it like like to have been married to the most tested man  in the old testament? We don't know much about Job's wife. We don't even know her name. We have a distinct account of who, when, and what Job lost. We have an equal and accurate account of whom, when and what Job gained after his testing. We know the names of Job's friends who came to sit with him. We are given great detail of what they said. But not Job's wife. We know little about her. We know she was there in plenty, was there during his suffering, and was there after the testing to see God's blessings. We know a lot about Job, but we don't know much about his wife.

For example, we know what Job did when he heard his children all died, but not her. We know about her lifestyle before the test (riches, servants, children, friends, money, a great home), but we don't know the day to day struggle and added stress she went through as it all feel apart. We know how Job felt, but not how she felt when she woke up one day with everything and then lived many days with nothing and no assurance that it would change. We know Job suffered from horrible sores that he would pick at with broken pieces of clay, but we don't know what it was like for her to watch her strong provider who loved the Lord be reduced to a broken , flesh eaten man. Poor Job's wife.

She  lived this horrific moment in time, and has become summed up as a joke that says, "The only thing God left him was a naggy wife." She is given two sentences and her lot in all of this has been cast by many as the additional curse. No one will truly know all of her, but I think there are some implications here that pastor's spouses would be wise to think about.

The first being that we don't know her name. Do you ever feel like that at church? Like, "Hey! My name isn't pastor Randy's wife. My name is Debbie. And I am not just the pastor's wife or the kids mom. I am a smart woman who has interests and opportunities." Personally, I don't really feel dismissed. I make a point not to be. Actually, I like being Randy's wife, but I think I enjoy that because I don't allow myself to be labeled as "just the wife." I have my own ministries, and life. Job's wife didn't really have a lot of options in her day.You and I have many options. Let's make them count.

Perhaps she felt, and this is my second point, trapped. Women had zero rights in those days. She had little option but to endure the hardship. We just had a training day at work last week. My boss brought in a nurse from the local Methodist Health Care Hospital. She talked about stress. Some symptoms were (PHYSICAL) fatigue, weight gain, rash, tension / (EMOTIONAL)  anxiety, the "blues", mood swings, worrying, little joy / (SPIRITUAL) emptiness, loss of meaning, doubt, martyrdom, cynicism / (MENTAL) forgetfulness, low productivity, lethargy, whirling mind, dull senses / (RELATIONAL) isolation, intolerance, loneliness, hiding, nagging, distrust, fewer contacts with friends, and lashing out. Hmmm,I wonder? Do you think the biggest test of all time could foster any or all of these emotions?! Maybe you have felt like this? Maybe even now you feel trapped due to a problem or situation? I wish we knew if Job's wife had Godly friends. What could they have said that would have made her feel better? Maybe nothing at all. Perhaps just being there as a support would have helped. Do you have a support group of friends? You need them. You feel less trapped when you have others praying for you. Your husband should be your friend. If you need to, talk to a counselor.You have the ability to utilize those friends as prayer partners. "If two of you agree on earth about anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My father in heaven." Matthew 18:19 In addition we know as Christians that, "we are more than conquerors through Christ." We don't have to live a trapped life. We have a savior.

Thirdly, our words matter. I have never said curse God and die to Randy. I have said, "Why do you waste your time? Your ministry in that area... those people ...(fill in the rest)" Ugh! What if there was a chronicle about Randy's life and the only lines you heard about me were, "And she said unto Randall, You are wasting your time." I would yell out, "I demand a redo!" I have stood in the rain in a bunny suit holding a church sign! I have passed out more fliers than the national forest has trees. I only started liking coffee because a coffee house is the best place to meet. I care for our children when he is at meetings. Most importantly, I love this ministry too. Don't be a hater... I have had moments of weakness! Maybe you have too. Don't live there. We can ask for forgiveness and overcome.

I think Job's wife had a moment of weakness. The Hebrew word for curse is Masoretic. It actually means to bless. She was in effect saying, "Hey darlin', you are steadfast on the Lord no matter what. So, given all that has gone on in your life... why don't you bless (or curse) God and DIE... cuz it is pretty crudy! That is why she got such a harsh answer from Job when he called her foolish and said we are here for the good and the bad God brings. May I point out she stayed even when the ugliness seemed to be "winning". We know of her in one other account (Job 19)  that she had to turn her head from him because his breath was so putrid due to his illness. Curse or bless, Job was right... God is with us in the good and bad. I hope she learned that. Pastor's wife you can overcome.

Don't miss this last point dear ones. There will be trouble, Christ assured us of that (John 16:33). But we live in the protection of the one who has overcome the world. Troubles and trials come, God is there and he is always faithful. Words matter because from the heart the mouth speaks. How is your heart? We don't know much about Job's wife, but we do know this; she was there to experience restoration. She had a husband who was strong when she couldn't be. She experienced more than she had before, and I think she loved all that God had given (pre-trial and post-trial), but I am sure she was changed by the trials...stronger some how. We don't hear from her again but we know they were blessed because of faithfulness to the Lord. Be faithful, if you curse or bless God and leave when it is hard, you will miss out on the blessings God will provide. Sometimes we have to leave a situation. Let's just make sure we aren't having a what's her name moment. God does some of his best work and blessings through us and in us when we are refined in the trials.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid... for the Lord goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Get out of the cold!

I turned my radio on to find an update about the cold weather. It only took seconds and my favorite AM station was letting me know that, with the wind,  it was going to feel like zero degrees tonight. The announcer went on to say this cold weather is affecting thirty one states and spans over two thousand miles! IT WILL BE ONE OF THE WORST STORMS IN HISTORY! I then called my mom and she told me that in Oklahoma everything had come to a stand still. Along with their weather in the teens and single digits, my frozen family is enduring massive snow drifts. The only bright spot for the Oklahoma familia in these cold times were those two precious words SNOW DAY! All sisters, and nephews are staying home and wearing their pajamas well into the mid morning ... good times! My clan is not so blessed. We have the cold, but south Texas doesn't get much snow. So, off to school we go.All of this cold weather started me thinking about the snow storm that sometimes sneaks into our souls.

Have you ever had a need or a question that you have begged God to answer and the Lord took what seemed forever to give the answer?  That is  what I consider a warmer climate. When we are waiting for God to answer, no matter the length of time, our thermostat is set on high and we long for his sweet reply. Psalm 42:2 says, " My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" John 6:35 says, "Then Jesus declared,..."whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." It is so wonderful when we thirst or long for the things of God. We know God satisfies, and he gives us a peace.

All of this is no surprise to Satan. He knows God will answer, and he knows God will provide. Matthew 6:40 tells us that "if God cares so wonderfully for the flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you?" Satan knows God can satisfy but he tries everything he can to cast doubt and fear into the Lord's plan, and if we're not careful our thirst for his answer can grow cold and bitter and a snowdrift over our faith can cover our soul.

Like all great storms it starts with a little cloud of doubt or hurt, or worry. When we don't take it and leave it with the Lord, the cloud picks up momentum. It rolls over the area we are most vulnerable. At first we try to isolate the cold front to just that one area of our life, but you see... it doesn't work like that. God wants all of us because he knows that the blizzard of worry or pain rolls over into the sunniest of places. It effects those we love because our temper is shortened and cold. It effects our choices from tv shows to how much we spend at the store because when we are in a blizzard we lose our way. Like the snow we allow the wind to toss us to and fro. Our worries or anger rule and the SON no longer shines and warms us and lights the way.

Have you ever been in a spiritual snow drift? I have. It is a horrible place to be. You long for the warmth that hope brings but find none. As a christian you know the way out of the cold. You know what to do, but you have to choose to do it. When someone is facing freezing conditions, the best warmth they can get is to huddle next to another. God not only wants to be close; he wants to cover you. When you allow God to cover you, your cold snap will end. Sometimes it leaves quickly. Many times it is a conscious effort to allow God to reign over all areas of your life. Like a blizzard, it may take time for the snow to melt. That means you have to allow good habits to replace the bad habits you created out in the cold (like complaining or worry or ... you tell me). The hurt and cold will try to linger. You melt the ice  by following God's instructions (the Bible) and allowing him to cover you (God's salvation through Christ"). If you allow God to take control of your journey I promise you that he will guide you into a much better climate. And that answer or question you needed to know before you drifted into the cold will be there... because the ultimate answer or provision is that God is enough.

Are  there any clouds on your horizon? Take them to the Lord.

Matthew 10:39 "If you cling to your life you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it."